French left-wing activist Clement Meric has been left brain-dead after he was beaten by a group of skinheads, reports London paper The Guardian.
The 18-year-old was a student at one of the top universities in France, Sciences Po.
According to Interior Minister Manuel Valls, Meric was attacked in a fight that broke out between two groups of people Wednesday night in downtown Paris. It is unclear how the fight developed, but political tensions have run high in France recently over the legalization of same-sex marriage, with antigay members of the extreme right often clashing with the police at protests. Wednesday’s attack has increased fears of far-right violence in the country with gay rights organizations warning authorities that LGBT people and their supporters continue to be targeted.
While no suspects have yet been arrested, Valls told reporters that finding the skinheads who had beaten Meric was a top priority. "There is no place for small neo-Nazi groups whose enemy is the nation. A group of the extreme right is at the heart of this assassination, " Valls said. "There is a discourse of hate and a climate that favours this discourse. We need to pay attention to this because they threaten our values."
France’s Party of the Left has called for demonstrations in Paris against violence by the extreme right.
Americablog reports Meric has now been pronounced dead and French religious right leader Frigide Barjot is blaming his death on the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In a piece she wrote for the French site Newsring, Barjot claims:
This extreme fight is the result of a power that for nine months has refused to listen to the French people. The President has caused extremism to grow by passing a law that the French didn’t want, and in a manner that was authoritarian and undemocratic. When we refuse to act like a democracy, extremism grows. In a way, you could say that there was a death because of this denial of democracy.